Author's note: this was written in the Java Moon Cafe in Penn Station in Baltimore on Wednesday afternoon while waiting for the 4.15pm Bolt Bus to New York, and then uploaded while on that bus. However, to avoid the logjam of game-time e...
Author's note: this was written in the Java Moon Cafe in Penn Station in Baltimore on Wednesday afternoon while waiting for the 4.15pm Bolt Bus to New York, and then uploaded while on that bus. However, to avoid the logjam of game-time entries, it's gone up on Thursday afternoon, so the results of Wednesday's game were unknown to me as I wrote it. Also: living in the 21st century is awesome.
I have a lot of friends in Baltimore, and one in particular has been trying to get me to join her for a game at Camden Yards. Tuesday night, this long-term plan of hers finally came to fruition, as I hopped on a Bolt Bus that took me from one Penn Station to another, and then I joined five friends (four Orioles fans and one person who was indifferent) for Tuesday's tilt between the O's and Yanks.
While the end result was a disappointment—the Yanks lost 3-2 in extra innings—the general experience was fantastic. This was my first trip to Camden Yards, and it was definitely worth it.
Some notes on the experience...
The hype is justified. I've been hearing about how amazing Camden Yards is for two decades now, starting when the place opened, and continuing to shortly after I posted a Facebook status update saying I was going there for the first time. "You'll love it!" "It's a great park!" "Haven't been in ages, but it was fantastic!" "Go to Boog's BBQ!" "Be sure to drink a Natty Boh!" And so on.
So I had a genuine concern that it wouldn't live up to the hype, which was considerable.
Said concern was wholly unfounded. The Yards are beautiful, with an open plan that gives you the feeling of an old-time ballpark (or a minor league park), with the added benefit of tons of exposed brick, superb sightlines, and a good placement of ad space that allows the folks who paid for them to get their money's worth without being obtrusive. (Yes, Yankee Stadium, I'm looking at you.) Our upper-deck seats in Section 344 behind home plate on the third base side had a great view (see picture above).
A friend told me that the prices deliberately go up during Yankees and Red Sox games in order to fleece the out-of-towners who hop the Bolt Bus or Amtrak down from New York and Boston, but even with that, the concessions were fairly reasonably priced. I wasn't able to take in the full range of available foodstuffs, but I will give credit to the vendor from whom I bought a hot dog. Rather than give out condiments in packets, the vendors apply the ketchup, mustard, relish, or whatever themselves. My vendor was very generous with the mustard, which I greatly appreciated.
It was the first really muggy day of the year, and there was lots of water being brought around, as well as lemonade. Interestingly, unlike what I've seen in other ballparks, the same person would carry beer and water.
(By the way, regarding the suggestions above, I was unable to make it to Boog's, but plan to next time, and I made the mistake of drinking Natty Boh once about fifteen years ago. I don't ever really need to do that again.)
History. The O's have a pretty storied history since moving to Bawlmer from St. Louis. (Amusingly, there is no evidence that the O's were ever the St. Louis Browns on display in the Yards that I could find. Given the Brownies' history, including just the one pennant in 1944 when most of the good players were fighting in World War II, this isn't much of a surprise.)
A lot of that history can be found in front of Gate H, the gate closest to the light rail station and the convention center, and where they display all the O's retired numbers as standalone statues depicting the number in question, along with a plaque identifying the player and the year the number was retired. There's also a statue of Babe Ruth as a youth, identifying him as a "native Baltimorean." (At least they have a more legitimate claim to Ruth, who was born and raised in
Charm City, as opposed to the tenuous claim they have on Edgar Allan Poe just 'cause he happened to die th